Today's episode of "Let's You And Him Fight" kicks off with General Motors Chief Executive Dan Akerson, a former Navy officer who's not above a bit of gunboat diplomacy. In a speech to an energy conference in Washington today, Akerson laid forth all the reasons why liquid fuel cars will reign over the land — and took a jab at Tesla Motors and co-founder Elon Musk in the process.
Noting the gas-thriftiness of his personal Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid, which Akerson says has consumed $75 worth of fuel in 10,000 miles, he tweaked the range anxiety of EVs by mentioning the stomping grounds of the Tesla Model S: "I like knowing that I can drive a Volt from Detroit to Palo Alto without having to play the EV-version of connect the dots."
For those who may have recently emerged from a coal mine, Musk has driven Tesla to build a network of Tesla-exclusive free charging stations that he says will make a coast-to-coast trip in a Model S realistic within two years. And while Musk has tweaked GM for forming a committee to study Tesla's success, he's also praised GM's previous announcement that it would aim to develop a 200-mile electric vehicle.
But Akerson made it clear today such efforts were not in GM's immediate future, saying "the fuel of choice across our near-term planning horizon is still going to be gasoline." Akerson used the speech to unveil plans for a Chevy Impala that runs off both gasoline and compressed natural gas -- a first in the United States. The bi-fuel Impala can travel 150 miles on CNG and 350 on gasoline; GM expects demand to be limited to business fleets with CNG refueling stations, meaning less than 1,000 a year. Akerson says the move will help boost demand for CNG infrastructure -- but without a bi-fuel setup, CNG vehicles will need a few more dots to make a Michigan-to-California drive